HOBSON'S CHOICE

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Ranking of mine clearance among largest sources of employment in Afghanistan:

1

Number of school-age children there not getting an education:

80,000

Estimated chance that an inhabitant of Russia will be suffering from tuberculosis in 2010:

1 in 7

Number of children aged 3 or under in Michigan, USA, diagnosed with attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder:

223

Number of different drugs, in a total of 30 combinations, being taken by more than 100 of these children diagnosed with ADHD: 22

Year in which it is expected that for the first time there will be more people in the world living in cities rather than in rural areas:

2006

Number of trees in the Westend City Center, Europe's largest shopping mall recently opened in Budapest:

2,000

Number of lakes in Finland: 55,000

Number of miles away a humpback whale's heart can be heard beating under water:

3

Number of minutes for which a sea iguana can stop its heart beating:

45

Number of different surnames in North and South Korea:

249

Number of surnames in China:

5,000

Number of surnames in Europe:

60,000

Number of surnames in Japan, following a 19th-century government edict requiring every citizen to adopt a family name:

120,000

Number of knots that have come into common use since neckties became fashionable a century ago:

4

Number of ways mathematical modelling has shown that the tie's wide end can be manipulated around its narrow end in nine or fewer moves:

85

Number of these knots, apart from the four in common use, judged by the mathematical modellers Thomas Fink and Yong Mao to be aesthetically pleasing:

9

SOURCES: TIME, TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT, NEW SCIENTIST, INDEPENDENT, NEW YORKER, TIMES, NEWSWEEK, BABEL GUIDE TO SCANDINAVIAN LITERATURE IN TRANSLA- TION, SIMPLE QUESTIONS RESEARCH ASSOCIATION, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

COMPILED BY

WILL HOBSON

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